About Zhang Xiaogang
Zhang Xiaogang was born in 1958 in Yunnan Province, China. He lives and works in Beijing.
Over the past few decades Zhang Xiaogang has gained much international recognition for his surrealistic family portraits, the so-called Bloodlines. These are almost-monochrome portraits of Chinese people shown with oversized faces and eyes with large, dark pupils that stare fixedly into space. The pictures mime the stylized family photographs of the 1950s and 1960s, which became popular during the Cultural Revolution. They are in the same black, white and grey shades, the only contrasting feature being the ‘bloodlines’, the thin red lines across the picture. A few faces stand out in bright red or yellow, bringing the individual into focus. Red and yellow were recurring symbolic colours under Chairman Mao, and everywhere in Zhang Xiaogang’s pictures there are references to China’s recent history.